Saturday, July 19, 2014

Personal Growth as a tool for Improved Patient Care - Important Business.

As a Naturopathic Physician your ability to assist your community will be limited only by your current skills.

I'm not talking about your extensive knowledge of science, or the latest seminar on cutting-edge treatment you attended, but your ability to connect and communicate to patients in your practice. Communication needs to happen in a way that works for each and every patient.

No physician can have a 100% connection rate with patients. No human is perfect, and we all have "off" days. You may not read a situation correctly. Additionally, we are all different and that is wonderful. It's why no one can truly compete with either you or me, because we all have a uniqueness that can never be duplicated. There is room for many to provided a variety of service styles, resulting in even higher levels community health!

Think back to a case where there may have been a miscommunication with a patient who opted not to undertake treatment or didn't return after their initial visit. Think about what went wrong...
 ..was there..?
  • a lack up understanding of why the patient came to the office
  • a misunderstanding about the treatment plan and how to execute it
  • a differential in the practitioner - patient commitment levels
  • a differential in practitioner - patient expectations and timelines of outcomes
  • an inability of the practitioner to communicate knowledge at an appropriate level or instil confidence.
All of these situations above are preventable by working on your personal growth. What do I mean? Do you need to take a course? By all means, formal course work on personal development is valuable and important. But wait! Before signing up for another course, you need to start by identifying where your struggling. If you don't know, ask a colleague for feedback and be ready to listen!

Is your problem communication skills, interpersonal skills, personal confidence, all of these will result in suboptimal communication with patients. Suboptimal communication then results in patients not getting as much benefit as they could if there was more understanding. So just like we do everyday in clinic, you need to "Treat the Cause" and dig deep for where your skills can be improved by personal growth.

You have a lot to do. Run the business, employ staff, be the doctor, and be ready to meet patients at the level of understanding they are at. You cannot expect all patients to be "easy" to communicate with, even if they have willing come to your office. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the physician to deliver the message. Remember: You are the professional, and there is a reason we call it "practice"

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bookkeeping - Getting Quicker with Manual in Hand.

Naturopathic Medical College gave me an excellent and challenging medical education, however the business learning curve, particularly bookkeeping has been the steepest for me. Month Five for West Shore Family Naturopathic Ltd. and things are becoming more streamlined. I truly needed to be open and practicing to accurately create my systems, categories and procedures, which were in a very idealized form from my HBBH assignments . I'm currently in the process of revamping these, incorporating insights from daily practice and preparing all manuals for the introduction of additional staff positions at West Shore Family Naturopathic Ltd.

Thanks goodness for the framework I was introduced to at HBBH or I would not have known where to begin. If you plan to open your own practice you must invest in additional business education for yourself! I have also been thankful for the access to the HBBH chat group and database which has answered many questions prior to encountering the problem in office.

The other thing I'm really glad I invested in was the Optional Official QuickBooks Manual. The tips and cautions have been worth the price 10 times over. Particularly, when initially setting up QuickBooks, I loved the section that walks you through the initial set-up interview. I have utilized the manual many times as I encountered a new area of QuickBooks.

Well back to my books...
Dr Janine Fraser CH ASc BSc ND

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

1001 things - Its all up to you - Organization Helps

Everything is very do-able setting up your own just takes a while to get all of the things you need, done. I utilize a similar technique as I used in Naturopathic College, constant rotating lists/calendars of items I don't want to fall off my radar. Sometimes I feel like I'm not getting that much done and going back to the lists and crossing items off is very satisfying!

I keep separation in my emails so I have accounts for business/patients to contact me at and personal addresses for friends which I check on weekends/evenings.

I really like the work of David Allen - productivity Guru. He has a CD you can listen to while commuting that has tons of organizational ideas and how to get the weight of your "to-do's" out of your short term memory thereby decreasing your stress. Hence more productivity.

When I was setting up my office I really appreciated that I had a rotation on the reception desk at college so I knew what supplies I would need and how to best set it up for myself.

It's true you will be just as busy as you were in Naturopathic College if you start your own practice....but you will be calling the shots on what is the priority each day.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Your Practice - A Family Business?

According the book E-Myth Physician by Michael Gerber, all successful businesses are family businesses, and medical practices are no different. So doesn't the same apply for Naturopathic Medical Practices? Well I'm just starting to learn how very true this is; if I had to do all my business planning without input from my family (and some very good friends) I'm sure I would feel much more overwelmed.

Having family members who can advise and come up with things still needing to be addressed has helped me greatly in creating my business. From handing out business cards, to helping put in ceiling tiles when the contractor takes an unexpected holiday, they are your best supportors and essential to have on board for your success.

We all learned in Naturpathic Medical College the importance of teamwork. That's what I've found works for me, a family team of advisors who all want to see me succeed; they've seen Naturopathic Medicine work for themselves and want to help me deliver it successfully to patients.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Investing In Your Practice, Investing In Yourself

Starting your own practice takes money. When I was researching start-up costs, talking to other ND's, I was told numbers ranging from 10-25K as minimum investments required. Regardless of how you finance your business venture you will have to utilize your resources to achieve your dream. What your start-up will actually cost you will depend on a lot of factors including, location, market, size of operation, and tools required. This is where your business plan comes in. (my previous blog topic)
One of the best things you can do now for your future finances, is to develop an excellent credit rating. Get some credit, use it frequently and repay it promptly, you'll have 7-9 yrs during school... so make use of this lengthy time period. A great credit rating can give you an edge when negotiating leases and other financing. If you have no idea what your credit rating is you should check it.
Finally, find yourself an accounting professional who will advise you on the best business structure appropriate to your financing streams. You will need to work with them as your business starts and grows.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Business Plan Blues = Naturopathic Green

Attempting to write ones' business plan when coming from a background of science, labwork and research papers was a challenging assignment. There was so much "real-world" information I needed to gather, like, how much does a business phone line cost anyways....and what options DO I need on it?!?...Does format really matter or is content more important?...and by the way just who are those elusive beings I call patients, and how do I really find out their likes and dislikes?

As I'm, yet again, adding the final touches (final plumbing quote) to my document I had thought finished, I have finally come to the understanding this will continue to be a fluid file until I retire.

Not only will it guide my business decisions but this all powerful stack of paper will show me the stark reality be it bad or good.

So hear are some tips I learned that may help you write your business plan.

  1. Format - Only mentioned here because I gave it waaaay too much time ....get the info, the format will follow. [It will expand into several folders anyways!]
  2. Market research - Hit the Pavement .....local community lots of locals their opinions. Be on the look out for local "Hubs" of knowledge, the chatty ones who just HAVE to give you their opinion....even about things you didn't ask, they are a precious resource! Also check out Stats Canada and your local city/town webpage or office for development plans.
  3. Mentors - Don't forget to ask other Doc's and their staff questions...What is the buzz from their patients? What works? What doesn't? There are some very well run practices and they are usually very happy to help.
  4. Changes - Make Them! You plan is the guide posts to measure you practice by, if it isn't working, find out why and adjust accordingly. You first calculations are just that, the first, they will most likely change.

I hope my acknowledgement that I will continue to update my business plan throughout my career has helped relieved any perfectionist Naturopathic Student stress you were experienceing...I know I feel better that my plan will never be done.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

So You've Decided to Open Your Own Practice

Deciding to open my own Naturopathic Practice directly out of Naturopathic Medical College was not a decision I made lightly. I have been working towards this goal for almost five years as I recall dreaming of my own practice when I first entered Naturopathic Medical College ( way back in September 2003.
Back then, I was naive about business plans, book keeping and financing options but I knew there was more to learn so I listened intently whenever one of our knowledgeable ND instructors would toss out pearls about making their practice successful. One day a favorite instructor told us about business courses she was taking and how they were helping her to become even more successful in her practice. I quickly had to take the same courses ( which gave me a basic business framework I've continued to build on.
Since graduating and becoming liscenced as a Naturopathic Physician, I have been reading, learning, doing business in an attempt to reach one my overhead, staff and myself so I can ultimately assist others to feel better.